NEW YORK CITY, OCTOBER 15, 2015 – TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé is a one-of-a-kind reality show, tackling the difficulties of international dating and matrimony. Now in its third season, the series follows as many as six couples, each comprising an American citizen and his or her love interest from abroad. Sound Engineer José Frías uses DPA Microphones’ d:screet™ 4063 Miniature Microphone and the d:dicate™ 4017C Compact Shotgun Microphone, as well as the SC4098 Podium Microphone to capture dialogue and ambient sound for a few of the show’s newest pairs, based in locations such as Orwigsburg, PA and Rexburg, ID.
As 90 Day Fiancé has multiple casts in various cities across the country, sometimes filming simultaneously, the show may employ a separate production team in each city. Though the main focus is on the couples, each cast typically includes as many as five or six participants at a time. This requires the sound engineer assigned to each production to wire and mic every key player, cover additional people using the boom microphone, in addition to using plant microphones for unique situations. DPA’s line of world-renowned mics provide Frias and the Orwigsburg, PA/Rexburg, ID production team with the necessary adaptable tools to bring the audience through every real-moment of the couples’ 90-day journey.
“The d:screet™ 4063 Miniature Microphone is my go-to microphone for this show,” says Frías. “As a sound mixer for a non-scripted show I’m required to mic all the main cast, which includes the couples and/or their family and friends. Additionally, the use of Zaxcom wireless allows me the adaptability and flexibility for this show, thanks to their wideband RF and backup recording features. The d:screet™ 4063 mics provide me a perfect match, with one of the most natural and transparent sounding frequency responses I’ve come across on any lavaliere mic, while being a fully functional pair to my Zaxcom wireless.”
However, for obvious reasons, Frías is unable to individually mic every single person that comes in front of the cameras. “This is where the d:dicate™ 4017C fills the gap as my boom microphone. The 4017C is the lightest, smallest and best sounding short shotgun mic I’ve used. Its size and weight is ideal for non-scripted work where you may swing a boom pole for hours on end. Its polar pattern is forgiving enough to sound very good, even while slightly off axis, but provides enough reach to really dial in on the subject. Its frequency response is incredibly natural and transparent as well, making it a perfect match to use with my d:screet™ 4063 mics.
“From a production standpoint, the scenes that take place during car trips are some of the biggest challenges for us,” explains Frías. “This is where the DPA SC4098 Podium Microphones really come in handy. Since it’s a fast-paced show, there is limited time to plan ahead. I have to be ready to set up and get going, and only have a couple of minutes to figure out what I want to do. The ease of operability of the SC4098s make that possible.”
In order to capture the audio for these scenes, Frías rigs the SC4098s to the car’s visors with a mic clip. He plugs the gooseneck into a wireless transmitter, which is hidden inside the visor. He also created a custom-built dual-rig, which allows him to mount the microphones to the center stereo compartment of the car, with the mics pointed straight out, toward the driver and passenger.
For Frías, the ultimate goal is always to provide the best sound possible, both technically and aesthetically. “The frequency response of the SC4098 Podium Microphone is a little flatter and more transparent than competitor gooseneck mics, so the sound is more natural and flattering for dialogue,” he says. “Whether I’m using the SC4098, the d:dicate™ 4017C Compact Shotgun mic or the d:screet™ 4063 Miniature microphone, they all sound incredible. From a sound perspective, they’re definitely my go-to solution.”
Having become familiar with the company’s products for classical and concert recording applications, Frías was initially unaware of the microphones’ production capabilities. “I started using these mics for my shows merely from word-of-mouth recommendations, especially after having heard about the use of the d:screet™ 4061 and 4071 Miniature Microphones by production sound mixer Simon Hayes, who worked on the Academy Award-winning production Les Miserables,” he explains. “I decided to give the d:screet™ Miniature Microphones a try and have started to add to my collection with the d:dicate™ 4017C Shotgun Microphone, which is finding a place in all my current productions and will be used for all future productions as well. I’m also looking into the d:dicate™ 4018 capsule, with the supercardioid polar pattern, and the E pre-amplifier for stashing solutions. I’m a big fan of what DPA is doing.”
A New York City-based sound engineer, Frías has extensive experience working in the TV and film industries as a sound mixer and sound supervisor. With clients ranging from networks such as TLC, NBC, CBS, A+E, fyi, Discovery and Telemundo, to corporations such as Reebok, JP Morgan Chase and Mountain Dew, Frías has worked on reality television shows, documentaries, narratives, commercials and live sound productions, among others.
For more information on TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé, visit: www.tlc.com/tv-shows/90-day-fiance.
ABOUT DPA MICROPHONES:
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high-quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to always provide its customers with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for all its markets, which include live sound, installation, recording, theatre and broadcast. When it comes to the design process, DPA takes no shortcuts. Nor does the company compromise on its manufacturing process, which is done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability and, above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.